The question of ‘What is the most dangerous industry?’ often comes up when exploring workplace injuries and fatality trends. The word ‘danger’ in the workplace is defined in several different ways. Until now, there is no solid answer to this seemingly simple question.
Workplace injuries happen – from minor sprains and strains to major life-altering injuries – and it occurs more frequently than you may imagine. According to the data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), about 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2019. Health care and social assistance were on top of the list, followed by manufacturing and retail trade.
Workplace injuries cause Australian workers to miss millions of hours of work to recover? But which industries and workers are at high risk of getting injured? Read on to get a better understanding of the job industry trends in Australia.
Top 8 Most Dangerous Industries
Health care and social assistance
Workers within this industry are at high risk of injury due to hazardous manual tasks they perform on a daily basis. The work tends to be physically demanding, repetitive, and constantly expose workers to stress and violence. Over the past years, health care and social assistance have been among the top industries with the highest number of injury claims.
Working in manufacturing involves the use of machinery, manual handling tasks and maintenance, vehicle operations, and racking systems. The most common manufacturing-related injuries include exposure to harmful substances, first-degree burns, concussions, and manual handling injuries.
Working in construction puts you at a higher risk of experiencing height falls and being struck by a moving/falling object. Other work-related illnesses can arise from working in construction, such as industrial dermatitis, occupational asthma, and COPD.
Workers within the wholesale and retail trade industry experience a proportionally higher number of injuries and illnesses. This is mainly due to overexertion injuries, incorrect lifting and handling, stress, slips, trips, and falls.
The culinary industry can present a dangerous environment to those working in kitchens due to the intense heat, chances of spillages, and the risk of being burnt or cutting yourself.
Both registered nurses and nursing assistants are prone to manual handling accidents and improper handling of substances that can irritate the skin. They are commonly affected by slips, trips, and falls, cuts, and muscular injuries. Nurses are also at risk of being assaulted by patients or patients’ family members, which may cause burnout and work-related stress.
The HSE Workplace Fatal Injuries of 2019 states that most fatal injuries occur in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. The most common injuries associated with agriculture are machinery accidents, vehicle accidents, and livestock accidents. Falls from heights can also happen from working at height in barn lofts.
Transportation and delivery drivers
Transportation and delivery drivers are at particularly high risk of motor vehicle accidents due to driving in busy city centres and remote areas. They are at high risk of other people on the road, such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
They can also suffer from musculoskeletal injuries (MSDs) due to poor posture while driving for extended periods. It is important to take breaks from driving from time to time.
Education and training sector
Working long hours, 5 to 6 days a week, poses a high risk for education and training. These people are working at schools, colleges, universities, training centres, and other education facilities. Once injured, these workers will require at least five days to recuperate.
The mining industry has always been one of the riskiest professions to be in. It is an occupation full of hazards such as lung and hearing damages, stress, fatigue, exposure to radioactive materials, and lifting injuries.
As long as you are working, there is the risk of sustaining an injury in whatever industry you belong. Workplace injuries can happen on the road, in the warehouse, in the field, or even in the safety of your four-walled office.
Improving workers’ safety remains a vital issue. Employers can mitigate workplace risks by educating them on industry-specific hazards and providing first aid training before working on-site.
Ensuring the safety of your workers is also an investment in your greatest assets. It is a smart investment for businesses and society as a whole.